Monday, April 25, 2011

Green Groups Giving Up Carrying The Torch For Carbon Pollution Limits?

In yesterday's post on how we need a climate bill not just individual action on Earth Day, I wanted to include a link to email your member of Congress to ask them to pass clean energy & climate legislation.

So I checked the website of the Sierra Club ... then Repower America ... then NRDC ... then the National Wildlife Federation ... then Greenpeace ... then Friends of the Earth ... and there could have been more ... before I finally found a climate bill action alert at the Environmental Defense Fund. I'm not saying there are definitely no climate bill email links at those groups' sites, but I couldn't find them with a few clicks & quick scanning.

If national conservation organizations aren't going to keep talking about limiting carbon pollution, who will?

I understand House Republicans aren't going to do much of anything that's positive on energy or environmental issues at all this year, never mind try to solve our biggest problems. When it comes to protecting public health & wildlife, we're playing defense this year, beating back attacks on the Clean Air Act & Clean Water Act. And after years of rallying around a climate bill, I can understand mixing in some other issues as well to keep people's eyes from going crossed.

But what I don't understand is the conservation groups' continued focus on compromises like renewable energy standards. If we're in a political climate in which nothing is achievable, why focus on the achievable? If you're going into a negotiation and you know the other person's going to say no, why water down your ask? Why not ask for what you really want?

The next milepost in this debate is January 2013. The House can only get more friendly to tackling the climate crisis, the Senate has about a 50/50 chance of staying where it is or getting friendlier, and President Obama is a good bet for reelection against a weak GOP field.

Now is the time to push the reset button and set the goal for the debate after the 2012 election (there can be plenty of watering down after that). Where do conservation groups want the carbon pollution debate to start? A carbon taxCap and trade? Cap and dividend? In a dreary time, let's dream big.
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